I’ve had some success with the use of over-speed training with a particular client in a gym setting so I thought I’d share it with you as it’s really easy to apply in the right setting.
My client is a track cyclist who came to me for some speed and power acquisition as he was just too slow out of the blocks, his main event was the 1kilo TT and 200m TT, both of which require a ridiculous amount of power from a static position as they need to turn over a high gear to get going.
The use of over-speed has been around for some time, it is very popular in track and field circles for sprinters in particular where athletes would be tied to a pulley system or bungee via a belt around the waste. The athlete would then perform a series of sprints with the apparatus which would allow them to sprint approximately 10% quicker than what is currently humanly possible by the athlete. The theory behind the use of over-speed is that the process excites the nervous system as it has to deal with this new found speed by recruiting more muscle fibres than it otherwise would have. In theory after a small series of assisted sprints the athlete would sprint unassisted and be able to sprint slightly faster and in the process hopefully set new motor neuron patterning to allow the new velocity to be repeated in time with practice.
Back to my cyclist, and in a gym setting we don’t have the luxury of room for assisted sprints, nor was it overly applicable, given the volume of torque the cyclist had to overcome compared to just sprinting. I chose to use an assisted jump squat in a TRX to heighten his nervous system (athlete actively pulled with his arms during jump). This allowed him to jump higher than what he humanly could and his leg speed was considerably faster. After a series of jumps I would then ask him to push a sled at 100% effort 30m, the sled had a similar load to what he experiences when on a bike coming out of the blocks. After 6 weeks of a combination of Olympic Lifting, plyometrics and over speed techniques my cyclists had considerably decreased his split times coming out of the blocks. While the exact reason for his increased performance in unknown I’d like to think the over-speed played a significant role as no aspect of his training regime had dramatically changed outside of training with myself and he had previous experience with Olympic Lifting.
In a study performed by Vanessa.L, et. al in 2013, numerous studies are detailed that support the positive use of over-speed to heighten neural activity and subsequently improve an athlete’s force output in both an acute and chronic setting. Her team’s findings within their study and that of the detailed studies certainly mirror my anecdotal experience. The TRX drill outlined above is a really easy will to apply this training principle. Feel free to give it it a go and let me know your thoughts.
VANESSA L. CAZAS, LEE E. BROWN, JARED W. COBURN, ANDREW J. GALPIN, JAMES J. UFANO,
JOE W. LAPORTA, AND ANDREA M. DU BOIS, 2013, INFLUENCE OF REST INTERVALS AFTER ASSISTED
JUMPING ON BODYWEIGHT VERTICAL JUMP PERFORMANCE, Department of Kinesiology, Human Performance Laboratory, Center for Sport Performance, California State University, Fullerton, California
Tristan Hill, Masters of Sports Coaching, author of Lifting the Bar and mentor to Personal Trainers.